Firefox is an impressive web browser that carries loads of features, add-ons and settings, coupled with a user-friendly interface that is both functional and intuitive. But the story doesn’t end here; Firefox is open-source, which enables other developers to make their own Firefox builds using its source code. Light is one such new third-party variant of Firefox developed by cstkingkey, a forum member at MozillaZine. What makes it different from the full-fledged version of Firefox is its ultra-lightweight design (hence the name Light). The author has simply stripped down all the non-essential components off the default version, creating a build that definitely feels faster than Firefox.
While Light is surely not for the power users among us, casual users who have recently jumped from Chrome and found Firefox slower or heavier in terms of performance and overall feel, are going to like this build. The developer notes that he has removed the following extra components in Light:
crashreporter, skia, webm, opus, ogg, wave, webrtc, jsd, gamepad, intl-api, accessibility, webapp, sync, healthreport, safebrowsing, pdfjs, identity, spellcheck, tabview, social, devtools, printing, webspeech, webgl, directshow
To make things a bit more understandable for the layman, the author has basically chopped off many frontend and backend components from the default version, including but not limited to Developer Tools, Firefox sync, spell checker, WebGL, WebRTC, and many others.
On the surface, Light looks a little different from Firefox. The version I used was based on Firefox 26.0.1, which is available in both 32-bit and 64-bit variants, and works well with both Intel and AMD processors. If you look at the screenshot below, you will notice the missing Firefox menu at the top-left, since the developer has just removed that too. The tabs also looks fairly different from default Firefox version, showing a close resemblance to Google Chrome’s design.
You can still download and install all the Add-ons that are currently supported by Mozilla Firefox. Furthermore, both Firefox and Light can also be used simultaneously on same machine without intervening with or overwriting each other’s setting profile. Instead of the Firefox menu, the browser houses a menu of its own in the toolbar at the right, clicking which lets you perform the following actions: New Window, New Private Window, Save Page, History, Full screen, Find, Options and Add-ons.
In a nutshell, if you’re looking for a Firefox variant that is snappier and faster than Mozilla’s official offering, then Light is worth giving a shot. It works on Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7 and Windows 8 / 8.1.